The Picaro's Picklists: oops! all narrativist mechanics! blog archeology + pbta-ish picklists as a reward for mastery in NSR games

Just got into Michael Kaluta

Roughly 10 million years ago, Patrick Stuart messed with the idea of using Apocalypse World moves in OD&D for wizard classes to contrast their narrative magic bullshit with the trad "gamist" approach of the D&D fighter. 

anyway I did that for combat and skills too. you might say that's what dungeon world did. i wouldn't know, i didn't read that game.  sorry for the ancient meme format. in my defense i'm talking about something that happened 10 million years ago. 

you could get real granular with this. lil lockpicking picklist (haha). stealth picklist. potion picklist. you get the idea. 

anyway obviously this is technically an apocalypse world hack but i'm coming at it from a deconstructionist fkr  nsr fiction first-but-with-a-narrative-hipster-spin mentality. 

if you wanted, you could reserve these mechanics for masters of their craft and use a more traditional OD&D game structure for everyone else. The fighter gets to use the combat move, but combat for everyone else involves HP and damage rolls, same as ever. 

The Picaro's Picklists
o fuck yea it's Olivier Bonhomme

You perform an astonishing feat of skill; describe it and its intended effect. Roll 2d6
    +1 for Good Preparations
    +1 for Good Props
    +1 for Specific Training
    -1 for Massive Scope
    -1 for Implausible Effect
    -1 for Dire Circumstances

    12+: choose up to 4
    10: choose 3
    7-9: choose 2
    3-8: choose none but your action takes place
    2-: choose none and your action fails

  • The situation does not escalate
  • What you intended occurs exactly
  • You or your resources are not exhausted
  • Your skills do not inspire hateful rivalry/jealous greed/smothering adoration

some classic Tin Can Forest

You cast a spell; describe it and your intended effect. Roll 2D6
    +1 for a Sacrifice
    +1 for a Ritual
    +1 if it is Named
    -1 for Violating Time
    -1 for Creation/Destruction
    -1 for Dire Circumstances

    10+ chose 3
    7-9 choose 2
    3-8 choose none but your action takes place
    2- choose none and your action fails
  • There is very little backlash
  • It has roughly the intended effect
  • Nothing unbelievably weird happens.
  • You may cast this spell again; Name it

really digging Noelle Stevenson
You perform a mighty feat of arms; describe it and its intended effect. Roll 2d6
    +1 for Scarred by Enemy
    +1 for Clear Advantage
    +1 for Named Feat
    -1 for Clear Disadvantage
    -1 for More Than One Target
    -1 for More Than One Action

    12+: choose 4
    10-11: choose 3
    7-9: choose 2
    3-8: choose none but your action takes place
    2-: choose none and your action fails 
  • You do not suffer a blow in return
  • Your weapon, shield, or a piece of your armor is undamaged
  • Your situation does not escalate
  • You may Name this feat

Hendrick Goltzius kinda sick with it
You suffer a blow;  Roll 2d6. 
    +1 for each Scar
    +1 for Fighting for a Cause
    +1 for Destroying Weapon, Shield, or Armor Piece
    -1 for Vulnerable
    -1 for Unarmored
    -1 for Wounded

    12+: choose 4
    10-11: choose 3
    7-9: choose 2
    3-8: choose 1
    2-: choose none 
  • You do not mangle or maim an eye, nose, or ear
  • You do not choose a limb to mangle or maim
  • You do not choose an extremity to mangle or maim
  • Your torso is not maimed or mangled
If a limb or extremity are mangled/maimed twice, you'll die without treatment. 
If it's your torso or anything on your head, you'll die right then and there. 
If you survive with something mangled/maimed, it becomes a Scar. 

Different enemies, especially monstrous ones, will have different options to choose from. Weaker foes may only have 3 or even 2 options, stronger foes may have more. 

  • You do not lose a finger
  • You are not infected by goblin laughter
  • You are not entangled by a net
  • Your skin is not burned from your flesh
  • A tail swipe does not send you flying
  • A limb is not ripped from your body
  • You are not swallowed whole
  • You are not pinned by a talon
  • You are not hypnotized by a golden eye


  1. Goltzius's exaggerated Mannerist woodcuts are pretty engaging.


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